Insects on the Menu – Entomophagy in Prague

Jiskra loves to experiment with food and began cooking with insects five years ago. The lunch menu was much more extensive than the average insect tasting with mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and cockroaches on offer. You could eat a three-course cricket meal with crickets in the soup as well as the typically-Czech fried cheese but also covered in chocolate as dessert…

Wednesday, March 16th was a special day for Prague-based HP and Microsoft employees who were offered insect meals for lunch. The seemingly ordinary cafeteria was decorated with plastic spiders, allergy warnings and facts about entomophagy.

“The six-legged menu attracted people who really wanted to experiment,” said Martin Jiskra, head chef and manager of Momento DELTA restaurant. “I was nervous at first but it turned out to be a great success.”

Jiskra loves to experiment with food and began cooking with insects five years ago. The lunch menu was much more extensive than the average insect tasting with mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers and cockroaches on offer. You could eat a three-course cricket meal with crickets in the soup as well as the typically-Czech fried cheese but also covered in chocolate as dessert.

“It was the first time I organized an insect-eating event in a restaurant like this,” Jiskra said, “but the outcome was so good that we’ll probably do it again.”

Although it was the first insect feast at Momento DELTA, insect tasting events are fairly common in the Czech Republic, however, selling them as food in a supermarket isn’t exactly legal. According to Czech law, insects arenot considered a food which makes them unsuitable for human consumption.

This law doesn’t make serving insects illegal at events – however, it prevents restaurants from having them on their permanent menu. However for events like this, if you follow all the hygiene laws and regulations, there are no problems. Jiskra has proved this before when he served other exotic meals including bear and zebra meat.

The chef points out that cooking with insects is much safer than handling common meats such as beef and chicken. There are no GMOs or antibiotics in insects and they cannot carry any diseases that are harmful to humans because they would die from them too. There are no safety concerns from an insect from a certified breeder that is handled correctly – with the exception of allergies: people who are allergic to shellfish are warned that they may react similarly when eating insects.

Before cooking insects, Jiskra recommends that chefs and culinary enthusiasts read published literature about the topic. There are currently four books about entomophagy in Czech and they explain how to handle the insects prior to cooking them.

The insects served in Momento DELTA were closely watched to ensure that they look healthy, aren’t eating their excrements and were fed oregano for two days to enhance their flavor. The feedback on the event was great and approximately 480 insect meals were served. While the restaurant received fewer visitors than usual, very few people asked for insect-less meals.

Two days before the event, Jiskra organized a presentation to explain the benefits and history of insect-eating around the world. Insects contain proteins, minerals and enzymes that are great for the human body. They can also be bred, reared and processed much more sustainably than other meats which could have a large positive impact on the environment and the economy. Currently, the largest issues are the legal and bureaucratic ones.

“If people’s attitude and understanding about eating insects changes; laws will too,” concludes Jiskra.

Originally published here:


Shrimp vs. Crickets: How Can Eating Insects Save the World?

Shrimp are a popular food source all over the world. They are healthy due to their high calcium, omega-3, protein and they are deliciously easy to prepare. Shrimp has been America’s most popular seafood for many years; in 2014 the average amount of shrimp eaten per person annually was 1.8 kilos! Despite being one of the most common allergens, shrimp are considered a delicacy and are very much in demand worldwide.

So why do people love eating many-legged, large-eyed, trash-eating sea creatures but think crickets are disgusting?


Shrimp have more legs than insects: 5 pairs of walking legs, 5 pairs of swimming legs and 3 pairs of “arms” that they use to feed. They have hard exoskeleton and soft bodies just like insects. They also eat plankton and other ocean waste. While it is lobsters that are considered the cockroaches of the sea, shrimp can easily be compared to a variety of insects including crickets.


Research has shown that people who are allergic to shrimp/shellfish are also allergic to crickets and other insects. Crickets are an even better sources of protein and omega-3 than shrimp. They also have countless of other health benefits including being rich in iron, calcium (a great non-dairy source of calcium!), they are low in fat but have dietary fiber which is not common in the other animals eaten in the west.

The main difference:

Harvesting enough shrimp to feed our shrimp-crazed world has some devastating consequences on the planet. While eating insects is considered ecologically friendly, shrimp are either caught in the wild or farmed and both methods have their setbacks.

Farmed shrimp are often kept in coast side pools so that the tide can carry away the waste and refresh the water. This means that chemicals such as superphosphate, diesel, pesticides and antibiotics pollute the fresh water in the area. In addition to this, a 2014 estimate shows that 38% of the world’s mangroves were destroyed by shrimp farmers to create the ponds.

Catching wild shrimp on the other hand kills between 5 and 18 kilos of “bycatch” for every kilo of shrimp. Bycatch is basically unwanted species that get caught accidentally and includes sharks, sea turtles, star fish, rays and many more. Wild shrimp is also not inspected by the FDA, so the 162 varieties of bacteria (resistant to 10 different antibiotics) can end up on your plate.

This information was taken from a Tree Hugger article. You can read it here.

How is farming or catching crickets better?

According to the Edible Bug Farm, “Insect farming uses a tiny fraction of the feed, water and land needed to raise traditional livestock such as cattle or pigs. Since bugs are not mammals, they are also much less likely to transfer diseases to us.”

Not only does farming crickets require few resources, but it also requires very little space. It is even possible to purchase desktop farms that are fed on kitchen scraps. Livin Farms has created a Hive that produces up to 500 grams of mealworms every week.

Plus, insects reproduce at incredible rates and reach adulthood quickly, so it is easy to grow many insects in a short amount of time and keep repopulating it. Farming and catching insects can even have socio-cultural benefits in developing countries including providing jobs for women and the elderly.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let these three infographics summarize the benefits of cricket farming and conclude why crickets are better than shrimp (and cows, pigs, chickens, etc.)

QA0815-pg18 - CopyWhy-you-should-eat-cricket - Copyinfographic_bon_appetit_can_insects_feed


AgriProtein is leading a new nutrient recycling industry to deal with the urgent need for new sustainable sources of protein. The man behind AgriProtein, Jason Drew, established the company in 2008 and plans to start a revolution in sustainable animal protein by 2020.